The Leaf Blower

The most significant event of my summer was hosting my family reunion.

The plans for gathering 67 of us was no small feat. For months we planned activities for all ages, rented tables, chairs, and a bouncy house for the kids! We worked all summer on our yard, keeping our flowers alive, planning food and décor, generally obsessing all summer about the event and praying for good weather. (I realize praying for good weather is not especially good theology, but I figure prayer never hurts.)

I felt a responsibility for all who traveled, at great trouble and expense. I was so hoping all of our grandchildren would get to know each other and most of all have a memory better than the pandemic had given all of them these past years.

So, you may imagine my dismay when throughout the night before we had one of the worst storms of the summer. I woke that morning and looking out the window, I saw all we had prepared dripping wet. The rain must have come in from every direction because nothing under our tent had a dry spot. My spirit was as soggy as my yard. I pulled the covers over my head and didn’t want to get up, thinking there just wasn’t time to recover and be prepared for my family who had worked so hard to make this happen.

As I lay there my son, Andrew, called and said he would be over shortly with his leaf blower so we could blow the yard, tables and chairs, etc. dry. This seemed like such simple practical help when I felt alone with the water-logged mess. He and my young grandsons, Mason and Dylan, with many towels and the leaf blower dried everything, finishing the repair work 10 minutes after the start time. Grateful my family kept the tradition of being a little late, we were ready.

I know the drying out of grass is not a corporal work of mercy but that day it was for me. I was reminded of Henry, who had shared with me at his Confirmation interview how he and his dad snowplowed all their neighbors’ driveways just because they could help them. And I thought of my friend, Maureen, who left dinners in the truck parked in the driveway of our friend, who was battling a debilitating illness this summer.

Love and friendship look like such ordinary acts of simple kindness, acts of simple service and simple generosity. We all have moments when we can give and share mercy and help. Mother Teresa said, “Do small things with great love.” It can make all the difference in blessing someone’s life.